British Columbia

Hit TV show The Last of Us moving from Calgary to Vancouver for its 2nd season

HBO has confirmed that its hit series The Last of Us is moving from Calgary to Vancouver for its second season.  

HBO series based on blockbuster video game stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey

A man looks off-screen, and a girl looks at the camera in a dark wilderness landscape.
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey star in The Last of Us. The hit show is moving to Vancouver for its second season. (HBO's The Last of Us)

HBO has confirmed that its hit series The Last of Us is moving from Calgary to Vancouver for its second season. 

The show, which stars Pedro Pascal of The Mandalorian and Bella Ramsey of Game of Thrones as Joel and Ellie, respectively, is based on the hit video game of the same name.

The show is set in a post-apocalyptic world 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. In the video game series, Joel and Ellie seek to survive as they are pursued by mutated humans infected by a parasitic fungus.

Prem Gill, CEO of Creative B.C., said the move demonstrates the strength of the province's motion picture industry. 

"With an exceptional crew base and an unparalleled range of stunning locations, we are poised to build on the precedent set by Alberta's exceptional work on season one," Gill said. 

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim says he's looking forward to seeing a post-apocalyptic version of city hall.

Sim says the filming will provide Vancouver with more "swagger,'' as well as hundreds of jobs and significant contributions to the local economy. Sim told a news conference that he and Vancouver film commissioner Geoff Teoli were in Los Angeles a few weeks ago to show that Vancouver is "open for business,'' and the process unfolded from there.

Still frame from the TV series The Last Of Us. Closeup shot of Pedro Pascal in the bottom left corner of the frame, wearing a green plaid shirt and looking down solemnly.
Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last Of Us. (HBO)

HBO hasn't officially disclosed the budget for the series, though The New Yorker reported in late 2022 that it exceeded the amount for each of the first five seasons of the fantasy series Game of Thrones. Those seasons reportedly ranged between $6 to $8 million per episode before increasing to $10 million per episode at the start of the sixth season.

While HBO confirmed production is moving to Vancouver, a representative from the Alberta government says it is expecting part of the series' second season to be filmed in Alberta.

The series began shooting in the summer of 2021, wrapping production around a year later. In that time, it filmed at several Calgary locations, including Mount Royal University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Scenes were also shot in Okotoks, High River, Fort Macleod and in Edmonton, where the Alberta Legislature was covered in vines.

The show has proved to be a boon for Alberta's film and travel sectors.

Travel Alberta has a map on its website listing 180 filming locations and an itinerary for visiting fans of the show.

In a statement Saturday, B.C. Arts and Culture Minister Lana Popham said the government was "thrilled" that the HBO production was moving to B.C.

"This is a major boon to B.C.'s economy and an opportunity for global viewers of the show to experience the beauty of British Columbia," she said. "Alberta set an amazing precedent for us to continue working on this successful series. They should be proud of the work they brought to the screen."

According to Popham, B.C. has 44,000 full-time employees in the film sector and is the third largest film hub on the continent.

With files from The Canadian Press